Департамент культуры MOSCOW ZOO SHARES THE EXPERIENCE OF THE KEEPING OF WHITE BEARS WITH CHINA

MOSCOW ZOO SHARES THE EXPERIENCE OF THE KEEPING OF WHITE BEARS WITH CHINA

04.09.2019
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Last week, a working group of the Moscow Zoo, led by Marina Galeshchuk, vice-coordinator of the European program for the preservation of polar bears in captivity, coordinator of a similar program for SOZAR, went to China. The purpose of the trip is to inspect objects where the bears transferred by our country are kept, as well as objects under construction, where Chinese colleagues plan to settle animals in the future. The trip was initiated by the Chinese side in order to increase the level of polar bears and bring it closer to modern international standards.
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Our experts visited several zoos where bears live. A separate part of the trip was devoted to the inspection of facilities under construction. The latter were frozen: before continuing to work on them, the Chinese side wanted to receive recommendations from the Moscow Zoo.

 
Today, zoos in China are dynamically developing, striving to reach a qualitatively new level. Nevertheless, there are some false stereotypes about the content of certain animal species. In particular, polar bears. Typically, the enclosures intended for these predators are not spacious enough, and there are not always swimming pools or artificial ponds and, most importantly, shelters where animals can go if desired. During negotiations with Chinese colleagues, our employees emphasized that polar bears require special conditions of detention - no less stringent than large pandas. To provide these inhabitants of the Arctic with a dignified and prosperous life, spacious open-air cages with snow cannons, swimming pools and no less spacious interior rooms with climate control are needed, in which animals would have the opportunity to hide from the attention of the public. Small spaces are absolutely not suitable for polar bears. Preservation in such conditions can adversely affect the health of the beast (physical and mental).

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Our experts offered their Chinese colleagues a number of practical recommendations that will be taken into account when building new enclosures. Also, joint efforts are planned to conduct a genetic examination of the bears living in China in order to be able to draw up a population plan - this will avoid closely related crosses and hybridization.  
 
There is still a lot of work ahead, which will take place in close collaboration with colleagues from China. However, we intend to make every effort to change the conditions of our polar bears in China. After all, these unique predators deserve no less attention and care than big pandas. In future, our experts will continue to monitor the progress of the construction of enclosures for polar bears, as well as share their experiences with this rare species of animals with Chinese colleagues.